The Patiala police on Monday arrested Arjuna award winner Jagdish Bhola — the alleged mastermind of a Rs 700 crore synthetic drug racket in Punjab — and four of his associates from a dhaba at Ganaur on the Grand Trunk Road in Haryana. Police claimed to have recovered drugs worth Rs 18 crore and two cars from the accused.
A decorated wrestler, Bhola had also served as a Punjab Police DSP before being dismissed from service after his name cropped up in investigations relating to the drug trade. The others arrested have been identified as Sarabjit Singh alias Saba, Harpreet Singh alias Happy, Baljinder Singh and Ravinder Singh.
Following inputs from the Punjab Police, investigators traced Bhola’s hideout in Central Delhi from where they recovered 26 fake passports and visa stamps. The flat belongs to Bhola’s associate Harmander Singh, who is absconding. The seized passports include a British passport and seven Canadian passports — the remaining passports are Indian.
Addressing a press conference here on Monday, Patiala SSP Hardial Singh Mann said the five were arrested from Ganaur, between Sonepat and Panipat. He said Bhola, a resident of Bathinda, was the kingpin of Punjab’s biggest synthetic drug racket.
As many as eight FIRs have been registered against the former wrestler while over 20 of his associates have already been arrested. Mann added that Bhola has been on the run since March 3, when his Mohali residence was raided by the police in connection with an FIR registered in Fatehgarh Sahib. The FIR was registered following the arrest of Zirakpur resident Anoop Singh Kahlon. The names of Olympic boxer Vijender Singh and his sparring partner Ram Singh had also cropped up during the course of investigations in the case.
Mann said Bhola was in touch with Kahlon and was heading an extensive drug network which allegedly diverted precursor chemicals for medicinal purposes to illegal factories manufacturing synthetic drugs like methamphetamine (ice). The synthetic drugs are reportedly supplied to international markets in Europe, Canada and the United States.